Garlic is one of the commonest ingredient in kitchen that is used to add flavours to cookings such as meats , marinades, pasta, sauces and stew and also provide a lot of health benefits. It is closely related to leek, chives, onion and shallott. It has been used since ancient times for many purposes including medicinal treatment.
Garlic is highly nutritious as it contains essential amount of proteins, carbohydrates, B vitamins, vitamin C, calcium, potassium, folate, manganese, iron and decent amount of calories.
Besides from being used as food flavours garlic can also be chopped, chewed and eaten rawly or added to water and consumed for its various medicinal purposes. In this article will be discussing the various health benefits of consuming garlic.
Health Benefits of Garlic
The following are the health benefits of garlic:
Garlic contains antimicrobial properties
Garlic is well loaded with biotactive compounds and antioxidants that fights harmful and pathogenic microorganisms. The resistance of bacteria to many antibiotics is a major health problem throughout the world and this calls for the use of plants and herbs as natural remedies to combat this problem. Garlic processes sulphur containing compounds such as allicin, diallyltrisulfide and ajoeone that inhibits the growth of many pathogenic microbes and treat infections.
A scientific research found that fresh garlic juice exhibited strong antimicrobial activity against some selected pathogenic bacteria. In the study fresh garlic juice was tested for it antimicrobial activities against some pathogenic bacteria “Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumonia, Proteus mirabilis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus” isolated at SSG hospital, Vadodara. The result of the study revealed that fresh garlic juice successfully and effectively inhibited the growth of all the organism tested in various degree, and E.coli and Staphylococcus aureus were the most sensitive to fresh garlic juice antimicrobial properties.
Garlic enhances cardiovascular Health
Garlic dietary supplement have been found to be useful and effective in protecting the heart and improving overall cardiovascular health. High blood pressure is one of the leading cause of death worldwide and when this condition is not controlled it can increase your risk of heart attack, heart failure, kidney damage, stroke, peripheral artery disease and erectile dyfunction. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition revealed that garlic supplement is effective in reducing blood pressure in hypertensive patient, regulating slightly elevated cholesterol concentration and boosting immune system. The study further suggested that garlic supplement can be used as complementary treatment in addition to standard medications to improve and enhance cardiovascular health.
It boost immune system
A strong immune system is necessary to ward off many infections and also keep the body in a healthy condition. People with compromised immune systems are always susceptible to opportunistic infections and they have higher risk of having severe symptoms from common illnesses. Several studies have shown that garlic and garlic extract contains antimicrobial properties as well as powerful antioxidants that prevent; foreign pathogens from invading the body system, oxidative stress and inflammation thereby promoting the efficiency of the immune system.
Garlic promote brain health
Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s Disease, and traumatic brain injury are common neurological disorder that affect various parts of the brain thereby resulting into memory loss, mental confusion, loss of coordination, depression and tremors. Garlic and garlic extract have been found to exhibit antioxidant activities that protect the brain cells from oxidative stress that can lead to neurological disorder. A study published in the Journal of Nutritionrevealed that aged garlic extract contains antioxidants such as allicin, selenium, S-allylcysteine and S-allymercaptocysteine which protect against oxidative damage that can result into neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s Disease.
An aged garlic extract can be prepared by soaking slided raw garlic in alcohol for more than 10 months. Taking the extract in appropriate concentration is useful and effective in protecting the brain cells and preventing the onset of neurological disorders.
Garlic fight against cancer
Cancer is an abnormal growth of cells that can spread to other parts of the body. It is one of the major cause of death globally especially when they are left untreated. The prevention of cancer is another tremendous health benefits that garlic offers. Garlic contains bioactive compounds, antioxidant and flavonoids that lower the risk of cancer. A study published in Biomedicine and Pharmacotherapy Journal revealed that garlic consumption is associated with reduced risk of cancer by ; inhibiting metagenesis, removing free radicals, regulating enzyme activities, inhibiting protein folding in the endoplasmic reticulum and suppressing cancer cellular behaviour such as proliferation, apoptosis resistance and evasion of immunosurveillance.
Garlic relieves arthritis pains
Arthritis is a medical condition that is associated with inflammation of one or more joints in the body that can result in two severe pain, stiffness and redness. Studies have proven that garlic is a natural remedy for arthritis owing to its anti-inflammatory properties. The sulphur compounds in garlic such as alliciin, diallysulphide, and ajeone reduces inflammation and suppress the transmission of pain signals from various joints in the body.
It promote bone health
Osteoporosis is a condition that is characterized by weakening of bones and it is usually caused by ageing, menopause , smoking and insufficient intake of diet that are rich in calcium. Garlic extracts have shown effectiveness in preventing bone loss and stimulating the bone health. It is well loaded with antioxidants, calcium and other nutrients that increase bone density and enhance bone health.A study found that garlic tablets and raw garlic can be used to treat osteoporosis as they stimulate calcium absorption and reduce oxidative stress which are the two important determinants of osteoporosis.
Garlic and remedies for flu and cold
Common cold is a result of viral infections that affect mainly the upper respiratory tract (nose and throat) and its symptoms may include sore throat, runny nose, sneezing and body pains. Garlic exhibits antiviral properties that have potential of treating common cold and flu. A study to evaluate the effectiveness of garlic in treating or preventing common cold compared to placebo revealed that garlic is useful in preventing the occurrence of common cold. In the study 146 participants were followed up for 3 months and separated into 2 groups. The first group took garlic tablet (with 180 mg of allicin content) and the second group placebo. The result of the study revealed that there were reduced occurrence of common cold (n=24) in the group that took garlic tablets compared to placebo group that had 65 occurrence of common cold illness.
Garlic in regulating blood sugar
Diabetes is a health condition that is characterized by excessive concentration of glucose in the blood due to insufficient production of insulin or body resistant to insulin production. There are various factors that can contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes and worsening of its symptoms and nutrition is not excluded. Studies have proven that garlic intake is effective in reducing fasting blood glucose and hemoglobin Alc in patients with type 2 diabetes.